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Opening Statements

Chairman Williams: “Rural Entrepreneurship: Examining the Challenges and State of Rural Small Businesses”

Chairman Williams' Opening Statement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Small Business is holding a full committee hearing titled “Rural Entrepreneurship: Examining the Challenges and State of Rural Small Businesses.”

Chairman Roger Williams’ opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Good morning, and welcome to today’s hearing that will focus on the challenges facing Main Street in rural America.

I want to thank our witnesses for being here today and understand that all of you traveled a long way to share your stories. There are probably more important things that you could be accomplishing back home and at work, but I am extremely grateful that you chose to give us your time to tell us about your businesses and backgrounds so we can hear directly from all of you.

Entrepreneurs in rural communities are responsible for bringing life, jobs, and economic advancement to their hometowns. However, in Biden’s America, these rural entrepreneurs face a series of unique challenges that make running their businesses more difficult than need be.

Small businesses across America are facing unprecedented economic challenges, high taxes, and unnecessary regulatory burdens. To make matters worse, according to the Congressional Budget Office, inflation in rural areas was over double of that in urban areas.

Unfortunately, the obstacles don’t stop there. Workforce issues and the inability to obtain affordable capital is making it more challenging to keep operations moving forward. While there are certainly headwinds for our rural entrepreneurs, I remain confident that they will overcome these obstacles.

In the meantime, this Committee will be looking into the federal resources that are available to rural small business owners to ensure they are making the intended impact. The challenges that a business owner in Weatherford, Texas faces are very different than those in Washington, D.C. While no entrepreneur needs the government to be successful, we must ensure that if we are spending taxpayer dollars to help our nation’s job creators, they will be able to be utilized by all people, regardless of where they are located.

Congress is currently working on the new Farm Bill that will provide certainty for our nation’s farmers and ranchers for the next five years. These businesses feed America, and it is important that we are listening to their concerns as this bill is being developed. I am glad we have some of our witnesses here today that will be able to give us their perspectives on the challenges they are seeing in their communities.  

There is no doubt rural small businesses are resilient and will not stop in the face of adversity and hardship. I am confident the hard work and unrelenting spirit of entrepreneurship our rural small business owners exhibit can be a shining example for all of our nation’s job creators. And where there are gaps, we need to understand where federal, state, and local assistance programs can help.

I look forward to our discussion today, as we shed a light on the challenges facing rural America while highlighting success stories that give hope to entrepreneurs across the country.

With that, I will now yield to our distinguished Ranking Member, Ms. Velasquez.